The Consumer Code is a collection of guidelines that came into operation on 1st April 2010 making it compulsory for all homebuilders to adopt and implement standards of good practice, procedures and information.
The aim of the Consumer Code is to set specific standards across all homebuilders, which fall in line with the home warranty and insurance bodies who are responsible for setting the standards for the homebuilders’ industry.
The reason for the code is to ensure that homebuyers:
• are treated fairly;
• that they know what service levels to expect;
• they are given reliable information upon which to make decisions; and
• they know how to access speedy, low-cost dispute resolution arrangements if they are dissatisfied.
All of the home warranty bodies have agreed to ensure that the registered builders adopt and comply with the Code as a condition of their registration, and that if any homebuilder is found in breach of the Code they will be removed from the home bodies register and all other home warranty registers.
Any homebuyer who believes they have a dispute with a homebuilder who has failed to meet the requirements of the Code, may refer their dispute to the independent dispute resolution scheme of which details can be found on the website https://consumercode.co.uk/
Regular surveys will be carried out to measure consumer satisfaction on how well the Code is working and to ensure that the Consumer Code is being administered correctly or amended should it need to be updated.
The benefits to the homebuyer is that all homebuilders governed by the Consumer Code will offer a fully transparent service from pre-purchase information to after-sales service.
Homebuyers will be given detailed information to help them make an informed decision including:
• contract information covering how their questions will be dealt with and who to contact during the sale process;
• accurate and reliable information about the home warranty insurance;
• health & safety precautions when visiting a development under construction;
• pre-contract advice on appointing a professional legal advisor to represent them;
• an agreement clearly setting out all terms and conditions of the reservation;
• contract terms and conditions including contract termination rights;
• reliable and realistic information on handover and completion dates;
• how contract deposits are protected and pre-payments are dealt with;
• after-sales service – who to contact and home guarantees and warranties;
• health & safety precautions when living on a development still under construction; and
• procedures for handling and resolving service calls and complaints.
A full and detailed report of the Consumer Code can be downloaded from https://consumercode.co.uk/ or you can obtain a printed copy from Ogilvie Homes Limited. Telephone 01786 811811.
NHBC, the National House-Building Council, is the standard setting body and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK.